Reflections On Christian Dior

My husband and I recently visited the Christian Dior exhibit at the Denver Art Museum.  When I told him I wanted to go, he raised one eye brow and asked, “Really?”  My emphatic “Yes!” convinced him that arguing was futile.  I can’t blame his hesitancy; I’m in fashion and so, of course, I would be interested in seeing over one hundred dresses and suits designed for women over several centuries.  The rationale for him to go was less compelling.

The crowd at the museum, filled with anticipation, looked a bit like a New York fashion show.  This was definitely not the typical, casual Denver crowd.  One woman, in particular, caught my eye in a sporty, form fitting white dress with matching dressy tennis shoes, complete with gold accents.  Her ensemble was made complete with wide rimmed white glasses.  Men in dress shirts, slim pants, sleek shoes and scarves held the arms of beautiful women dressed in all black.  A whole group of fashionable women laughed and talked in high pitched voices, their pink, streaked and bobbed hair styles bouncing as they turned heads to chat.

With the first exhibit, Christian Dior’s classic women’s suits in black captured my attention.  The structured fabrics tailored just perfectly to accentuate the curves of a woman’s body, and the impeccable tailoring still fashionable today, made me wish I could wear one.  From these first suits to the last dramatic dresses, I wandered from exhibit to exhibit in complete awe of the beautiful workmanship and creativity expressed again and again through the decades, and always with careful attention in how to best flatter the female frame.

My favorite dresses were in a grouping of floral inspired gowns dedicated to Christian Dior’s sister who he named his Miss Dior perfume after.  One beautiful gown had hundreds of hand sewn flowers that peeked out of delicate and flowing organza so that as you walked around the dress, you could see yet another flower you hadn’t seen before.  The art work and craftsmanship were inspiring.   The most surprising piece of art work at the exhibit was a Salvador Dali bust of a woman with a french baguette on her head.  As it turns out, Dali and Dior were friends and partners in trying to challenge the traditional views of women, art and fashion.

As we walked back to the car in silence, I asked my husband what he had thought of the exhibit.  “Fashion really is art,” he mused, pausing.  “I really didn’t understand that until I watched ‘The Devil Wears Prada,’ you know, how much fashion actually influences our society.”  “Yes, honey. ” I responded. “I’m so glad we went.”

 

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